Role of pharmacists recognised in Budget: PSA

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The PSA has welcomed Budget support for general practice pharmacists, while SHPA is pleased with the “strong and sustainable focus” on medicines and public hospitals

PSA has welcomed the announcement in Tuesday night’s 2018-19 Federal Budget for a new Workforce Incentive Program.

Under the new program, the government will provide financial incentives to support general practices to employ allied health professionals, including non-dispensing pharmacists.

Around 5,000 practices will be eligible to receive incentives payments of up to $125,000 a year under the scheme.

“We welcome [Tuesday night’s] Budget, and are particularly pleased to see the role of pharmacists is now being recognised through inclusion in this important program,” says Dr Shane Jackson, National President of the PSA.

“This outcome has been achieved through the continued parallel advocacy of the PSA and other organisations, primarily the Australian Medical Association.

“As the government-appointed peak body for pharmacists, we look forward to working with the government and our medical colleagues on the training, credentialing and standards of practice for pharmacists working in these practices; and ensuring these complement and align with the range of professional programs provided through community pharmacy.”

This announcement signals a sustainable career pathway for pharmacists working collaboratively within the general practice team, according to Dr Chris Freeman, PSA National Vice-President and general practice pharmacist.

“This is a win for patients through improved quality use of medicine outcomes, a win for the pharmacy profession through a new sustainable career pathway, and a win for government through return on investment in primary care,” says Dr Freeman.

Meanwhile the Society of Hospitals Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) says it shares the Federal Government’s vision for the PBS to offer maximum value to Australian patients in a sustainable manner.

“The $2.4 billion commitment to both currently-scoped and future new medicines on the PBS shows strong ongoing support for streamlined access to the best treatments for Australian patients, as soon as they are available,” says SHPA CEO Kristin Michaels.

“Hospital pharmacists facilitate 22% of PBS expenditure – a proportion that is growing each year – and play a crucial role managing the introduction of cutting-edge medicines and, on behalf of our members, we welcome tonight’s strengthening of the Life Saving Drugs Program, including the introduction of additional listings.

“We would welcome further consultation on how medicines remuneration can be best managed to achieve optimal health outcomes for all Australians.”

The organisation also stated its support for funding for education and training modules for health providers to increase prescribing of generic and biosimilar medicines.

“Hospital pharmacists have led the way supporting greater use of these medicines, which are of comparable quality, safety, and efficacy but can deliver significant cost savings,” says Ms Michaels.

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